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CLG: A new tactic to engage people and create memorable brands

Written by: Gabriel Troiano

In his book “Tribes,” Seth Godin talks about how human beings are hardwired to want connection in the form of groups, which he also says have been around a long time in our society. These communities also played a pivotal role in civilizations that have prospered and grown with the dynamism found in like-minded groups. After all, we need others not only to survive, but to thrive!

It is this same concept that has fed one of the latest trends in the digital and corporate world: Community-led growth. Also known as CLG, community-led growth is a go-to-market strategy that is centered around the use of digital communities and everything they have to offer, from improved customer engagement to greater company revenue. As we at TroianoBranding love being curious about our world of Branding, we had to take a moment and study what these communities mean to us and to the brands we work with.

In recent times and especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have turned to the online world to connect with others, whether friends, coworkers, or family members. Because of this, online communities, which were already on the rise, had a huge influence and impact on the population worldwide. Recent statistics show that about 76% of internet users participate in an online community. Reddit, for example, is one of the most prominent platforms in this scenario, bolstering more than 130,000 active communities (subreddits). With all of these changes happening at a quick pace, community-led growth has also impacted the area of Branding–this strategy can help Branding professionals better understand their public by creating brands that are, above all, believable and human. Let’s explore further.

At TroianoBranding, we always like to say that we need to understand people and be close to them if we want to go beyond the surface of our projects. This is the same for digital communities, because they allow companies to commune with customers on a daily basis. Whether they are located on a fitness or travel app, these branded communities are the people who keep up with all of a brand’s content and who share this information with others. The B2C interaction within an online community is what fosters room for growth and open discussions, and what ultimately creates a strong bond between these two parties. Furthermore, companies who are engaged through this medium can gather important user data such as content preferences, shopping behavior, participation in online groups, and more. CLG gives Branding professionals a good boost and encouragement, especially when crafting strategies where the individual is paramount to the completion and success of a project.

One of the fundamental principles of Branding is that brands act as a source of social integration. No matter where they come from or what industry they operate in, brands can bring people together and create strong, long-lasting bonds. Just picture sports fans rooting for their team, which can definitely act as a brand–the connection is almost instantaneous! But, to create memorable brands, a strong relationship and interaction needs to be established with consumers. Online communities arising from the community-led growth strategy allow companies to converse with users and live within their world, and this can happen in many ways. One example of this is seen in Figma, a web-based graphics editing and user interface design app, that nurtures a culture of collaboration and transparency, enabling users to suggest changes to the company’s features and products. By leveraging this authenticity and humility, brands become, in fact, more human and open to their audiences, which enables both parties to benefit from a horizontal communication strategy. Think back to the brands you interact with on a daily basis: how willing are they to hear your suggestions? How do they treat you as a customer? In Branding, we find it extremely important to create brands that can speak with the public, rather than to the public. Memorable brands, the ones that we turn to consciously and that echo in our unconscious, are the ones who put the value of community first, who know that the customer is the key to creating a long-lasting Branding strategy. And, we can’t forget an added bonus–82% of community site visitors said they would be welcoming of brands who choose to participate in communities. This, in turn, creates the perfect breeding ground for our next point to be made: Online communities are a great opportunity to generate tangible, sustainable results.

We all know that to create successful brands, there needs to be financial encouragement for a product or service to live on, whether that comes from sales, promotions, or any other kind of metric. The good news is that online communities can significantly impact a company’s bottom line because of their ability to seamlessly unite brands and customers. Participants in a recent study, for example, indicated that over 30% of their organization’s revenue is influenced by their branded online community. An important thing to remember here is that the more human side of a brand, the one engaged in conversations and interactions with customers, can function hand in hand with the financial, economic side, given that these two are properly balanced within the context of an online community. It is precisely this dichotomy, this contrast between connection and outcome, that allows companies to flourish with their community-led growth strategy. And Branding efforts, which are fundamental to an online community, cannot live without this pecuniary element, which is sure to boost future community-centric corporate actions.

The verdict is set: community-led is the go-to strategy when it comes to engaging people and creating memorable brands. Here, Branding acts not as a “nice to have,” but a critical part of drawing people in and creating brands that are human and relatable. As with a lot of areas that deal with communication, Branding is taking steps to grow and we at TroianoBranding believe that it will play a big role in companies and their community-led strategies–we are social beings afterall, and CLG is here to connect us beyond superficiality, helping engage people by forging notable, memorable brands.


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